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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is SAM-E?

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S-adenosylmethionine, the abbreviation for which is SAMe (pronounced samm-ee), is a chemical structure whose name is derived from two materials: methionine, a sulfur-containing amino acid; and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's main energy molecule.

SAMe is a natural substance produced by the body. It helps to produce mood-elevating brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin. SAMe is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.1

SAMe was discovered in Italy in 1952. It was first investigated as a treatment for depression, but along the way it was accidentally noted to improve arthritis symptoms—a kind of positive side effect.

Unfortunately, SAMe is an extraordinarily expensive supplement at present. Full dosages can easily cost more than $200 per month.

There have been no reported deaths from overdose of SAM-e. Side effects can include headache, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, dry mouth, reduced appetite, sweating, and dizziness.

Some people develop mild stomach distress if they start full dosages of SAMe at once. To get around this, start with a lower dosage and work up to the full dosage gradually.

SAM-e should not be taken with MAOIs.